Document Sample

                        “THE PATROL RIFLE/CARBINE”



                      SERGEANT CRAIG BAULDRY
                            CANTON, MI

An applied research project submitted to the Department of Interdisciplinary Technology
   as part of the School of Police Staff and Command Program September 20, 2003


    Currently throughout the United States most police departments carry a 12-gauge

pump shotgun in the passenger compartment of most all patrol vehicles. It has

historically been law enforcements primary patrol long gun.

    In recent years and in several devastating incidents, the shotgun has shown its age.

Due to its limitations and lack of versatility, police administrators must consider other

weapon systems. The shotgun is becoming an aging technology that can no longer be

solely relied upon.

    The concept of the patrol rifle/carbine is aggressively gaining popularity amongst

police officers. It has few limitations and can be extremely versatile. The purpose of this

research project is to show that the patrol rifle/carbine is superior to the shotgun and it

should become the primary patrol long-gun. Many police departments are adopting the

patrol rifle/carbine, however they are using it in a limited capacity. Most agencies are not

carrying the patrol rifle/carbine in the passenger compartment of the patrol vehicle, which

presents a problem. The research in this paper will clearly show why the patrol

rifle/carbine should be immediately available to patrol officers.

    Furthermore, it is imperative for police academies to implement a basic patrol

rifle/carbine user and deployment course so recruits can develop basic rifle

marksmanship skills and proper training mentality early on in their career. The research

in this project will be used to seek patrol rifle/carbine curriculum in Michigan police


    Research for this project was derived from experts in the field that have written

books and articles on the patrol rifle/carbine. A survey was distributed in the 2003

Eastern University Police Staff & Command School to obtain raw data on the percentage

of departments currently carrying the patrol rifle/carbine and in what capacity. The

survey also elicits information to determine current deployment capabilities of the

shotgun and training/qualification standards. Furthermore, the survey will show

knowledge levels pertaining to the patrol rifle/carbine and its capabilities. In addition,

questions were asked to determine if the command group felt the patrol rifle/carbine

could be used by all patrol officers and if it should also become academy curriculum.

Finally, questions were asked to determine how they felt about the shotgun and whether

they would give it up for a more suitable alternative such as the patrol rifle/carbine.

                 TABLE OF CONTENTS


TABLE OF CONTENTS……………………………………………………………..... 4


BACKGROUND AND SIGNIFICANCE……………………………………..……. 7-10

LITERATURE REVIEW………………………………………………………...... 10-11

PROCEDURES…………………………………………………………………...… 11-14

APPENDEX A…………………SURVEY…..…………………………………… 14-17

APPENDEX B………………… RESULTS…….……………………………….      18-32

RESULTS…………………………………………………………………………... 33-58

DISCUSSION……………………………………………………………………..... 56-59

RECOMMENDATIONS…………………………………………………………          59-60



    Historically for several decades the shotgun has been the patrol long gun of choice.

It is some way or another secured in the passenger compartment of most all patrol

vehicles and most all patrol officers receive some training in its use and deployment.

    The shotgun is reasonable in price and due to its short- range over- powering multi-

projectile capability; the law enforcement community has perceived the shotgun as a

weapon that has good stopping power.

    Experienced shotgun users and enthusiasts alike may defend the shotgun as most

suitable for law enforcement use and be resistant to change just like many who fought to

keep the revolver. Nevertheless, in an age where technology grows at a feverish pace, the

shotgun in recent years has showed its age in volatile police shootings. As technologies

grow, societies will change and in order for police to protect citizens and themselves they

must change as well.

    The concept of a police patrol rifle/carbin is aggressively gaining popularity amongst

police. The .223 caliber bullet fired from the patrol rifle/carbine has few limitations

compared to the shotgun and it can be extremely versatile. This versatility comes with a

price, as the patrol rifle/carbine is approximately 3-4 times more expensive than a

shotgun. Moreover, the patrol rifle/carbine requires more initial familiarity training and

sustained training. It will only take attending one police funeral to realize the additional

cost and training is well worth it. The purpose of this research paper is to show that the

patrol rifle/carbine is superior to the shotgun and it should become the primary patrol

long gun. The evidence will show that the patrol rifle/carbine should not be in the SWAT

truck waiting for deployment. Nor should it be in just one specialized vehicle within a

police municipalities patrol force. The patrol rifle/carbine needs to be in the passenger

compartment of all patrol vehicles. It should be in a gun locking rack that will allow

officers immediate access.

    The research in this project is a complete examination to show why the patrol

rifle/carbine is a superior weapon system to the shotgun and why it must be immediately

available to patrol officers. This project is also designed to convince police academies

and governing boards why it is critical to implement patrol rifle/carbine training within

the academy curriculum.

    Results from a survey that was provided to several command officers throughout

Michigan will provide raw data showing where the law enforcement community

currently is in way of patrol rifle/carbine utilization. Additionally, the survey will show

if command officers are knowledgeable in the versatility and capabilities of the patrol

rifle/carbine; and whether or not they still believe the myths surrounding the .223 rifle

round. The survey also examines the various departments training practices with the

shotgun and whether or not it is sufficient in comparison to basic rifle training standards.

    The survey also asks questions to determine how attached the command officers are

(having been patrol officers) to the shotgun and if they are willing to accept change.

Finally, the survey group was asked how they felt about the patrol rifle/carbine becoming

academy curriculum and whether or not new recruits could become competent with it.

                        BACKGROUND AND SIGNIFICANCE

    The shotgun has great stopping power and due to its buck shot capability it can fire

multiple projectiles, which allows more probability of hits on target at close range. This

concept of multiple projectiles and probability of hits might be attractive; but it can also

be a double-edge sword as the law enforcement community has adopted the shotgun as a

point and shoot weapon system. Many law enforcement agencies receive limited

training with the shotgun and some have no qualification program at all. To allow

officers to carry such a devastating close quarter weapon, and with minimal to no

standards, can have serious consequences in today’s sue happy society.

    Moreover, a survey identified later in this research paper will show that statistically

most police departments in Michigan do not have fixed mounted light systems on their

shotguns nor do their shotguns have rifle metallic sights. Additionally, many of the

police departments without lights and proper sights also do not receive training on how to

hold a flashlight and simultaneously manipulate the pump action on a shotgun. This lack

of equipment and/or training can have serious results. Statistically, a high percentage of

police shootings occur within dark hours and a point & shoot practice in low-lighting

conditions is a recipe for disaster. When you add such variables as moving targets and

stress, accuracy can quickly diminish.

    Military soldiers in times of war can spray indiscriminate rounds at the enemy.

Police Officers are trained from the beginning of their careers to clearly identify a deadly

force threat before engaging. Firing multiple indiscriminate rounds is unacceptable.

Furthermore, a police officer must also ensure that the backdrop is safe prior to firing.

The media, local prosecutors and the officers department will closely scrutinize incidents

where innocent people are shot by a police weapon. Serious criminal and civil

consequences can follow--police officers are held to a very high standard.

   Although the shotgun historically has been the weapon of choice, influences such as

new technology and changes in societal values can cause big changes in the way police

do business. Twenty years ago most all police agencies carried six-shot revolvers until

the semi-automatic handgun began to make huge technological advancements and caused

a revolutionary change in what police officers carry today as their primary on duty

weapon. In fact, one of the most popular handguns used today is partially plastic (glock)

and caused great debates when first introduced. Nevertheless over time and extensive

testing; it proved to be one of the best weapons available and at an excellent price.

    More than ever females are choosing police work as a career. Nowadays it is not

uncommon to see a female police officer on patrol. The shotgun has harsh recoil and can

bruise even the strongest of men. Officers have dislocated their shoulder or have been

severely bruised firing the shotgun. Furthermore, the harsh recoil can be distracting and

cause one to flinch at the moment the hammer drops. Moreover, the pain and distraction

can briefly take one out of the gunfight. The harsh recoil and necessity to use both hands

to manipulate the pump shotgun make it non-user friendly.

    In the past 25 years, the law enforcement bullet resistance vest has gained amazing

technological advancements. The push to invent the best vest has caused many a

company to throw their hat in the ring. Although the bullet resistant vest has been a great

invention for the police, it has also become a weapon against police, as it is easy

nowadays for the bad guy to obtain a vest and a vest that will defeat the 12-gauge

shotgun. Furthermore, vests these days can be undetectable under basic everyday

clothing. Unfortunately in 1997 Los Angeles police officers discovered they were ill

prepared to deal with 2 bank robbers wearing body armor wielding fully automatic rifles.

This incident sparked the debate to deploy alternative weapon systems. In order to deal

with more sophisticated criminals and their abilities to access new technology, police

thinking had to change.

    Even though in recent years the patrol rifle/carbine has gained popularity, the

concept is not new. The patrol rifle/carbine has been used in rural patrol areas for years.

It was thought of as an excellent alternative in the wide-open rural areas where longer

than normal engagements were possible.

    Over the years, due to technological advancements and constant improvement in

nomenclature and ammunition the patrol rifle/carbine has become a weapon so versatile

that it can be used in most all circumstances that a patrol officer could face. There are

several patrol rifle/carbines. One that is current and a most popular choice is the AR-15

model. The AR-15 is lightweight, compact and has excellent tactical ergonomics in way

of weapon manipulation and maneuverability. It is very accurate and reliable. Three

companies are known to make the AR-15, making it easily assessable.

   Unfortunately, the patrol rifle/carbine isn’t without problems as it is plagued with

misconceptions. As Suarez (1999) reported, “There have been many misconceptions

about the .223 rifle round in law enforcement. One of these is that such a round is

dramatically over-penetrative and likely to traverse several city blocks before stopping.”

(P. 35)

   Even the word “rifle” leads many to believe that such a weapon is for military use

only. Unfortunately, many uninformed people have voiced concerns on the police

obtaining such equipment. Later in this research project the over penetration myth will

be examined more closely.

                                 LITERATURE REVIEW

    Many law enforcement articles have been published throughout the country

describing the necessity for the .223 carbine. Many of these articles embracing the .223

rifle/carbine round surfaced due to the rise of active shooters. Administrators are

beginning to realize that you can’t wait for SWAT when citizens are being murdered.

And you can’t send police officers in against heavily armed or armored assailants without

a fighting chance. In the past few years, The National Tactical Officers Association has

published many articles in their quarterly magazine. Moreover, the Illinois Tactical

Officers Association has a large membership and they too publish a quarterly magazine

that also has several articles on the patrol rifle/carbine.

    In addition, several law enforcement officers that have specialized as sharpshooters

or have had prior military experience have stepped forward to publish books on the use

and deployment of the patrol carbine. One such Author is Gabriel Suarez, “The Tactical

Rifle”. Suarez writes in detail dispelling the myths that surround the patrol rifle/carbine

rifle. Suarez’s book is an excellent manual as it relates to this particular rifle. It outlines

easy to understand ballistics, rifle marksmanship, weapon manipulation, shooting

positions, proper training and qualification procedures.

    Richard Fairborne authored a book on Police Rifles in 1994. Two chapters are

dedicated to the patrol rifle/carbine and its importance. Fairborne discusses the problems

with the shotgun and why it is NOT an ideal second weapon for police agencies.

    Lastly, an expert in the field was consulted. Sgt. Jeff Felts is a 12-year veteran of the

Plymouth Twp. Police Department. Felts is a former army infantry drill instructor. Felts

served 10.5 years with the Western Wayne County Special Operations Unit. Within this

unit, he held many rifle assignments: Master Sniper and Sniper Team leader, Special

Weapons and Tactics Instructor and tactical rifle instructor. Felts is the President of

“Center Mass Inc.” Felts has written extensive training manuals and standards for the

patrol rifle/carbine. His manuals directly compare the advantages of the patrol

rifle/carbine over the shotgun.


    The purpose of this research project is to clearly convince the law enforcement

community that the patrol rifle/carbine should replace the traditional 12 gauge pump

shotgun in the passenger compartment of all patrol vehicles and that police officers

should receive training on the patrol rifle/carbine as early as the police academy. This

research is not designed to eliminate the shotgun all together as it has excellent

application as a less-lethal delivery system. The shotgun can also be considered for

certain tactical conditions; but the patrol rifle/carbine should be first choice in the

passenger compartment allowing officers immediate access.

A survey was sent out to 58 police command officers throughout Michigan. This was

accomplished through the 2003 Eastern University Staff & Command School. The

purpose of the survey was to gather data to determine where the law enforcement

community currently is in reference to deploying the patrol rifle/carbine within the patrol

force. The survey was also designed to illicit information on current shotgun training

standard; are officers educated in understanding the true potential of the.223 rifle round;

are officers resistant to change; are officers confident that new recruits can learn the

weapon system; and are officers ready for a standard academy curriculum. Fifty- eight

surveys were distributed and forty-five of the surveys were received. Officer and agency

names were not required although some did provide this information. The survey

consisted of thirty-six questions. The first twenty-one questions are designed to

determine the following: 1.) What the officer’s home agency uses in way of a patrol

long gun and where in the patrol vehicle is it carried? 2.) Does their patrol long guns have

fixed mounted light systems, and if not, do they provide routine training on how to hold a

flashlight and manipulate the shotgun? If a shotgun is deployed does it have rifle sights?

3.) What is the agencies standard in way of maintenance training and qualification? Did

they receive training in the police academy and was there a qualification standard with

the shotgun? And 4.) Does their home agency provide a user course to new employees for

the long gun system (s) used?

    The remaining questions were designed to assess the officer’s knowledge of the

patrol rifle/carbine and opinions on both the shotgun and rifle: 1.) Are the officers

comfortable and confident with the shotgun? 2.) Do the officers believe for the most part

that all officers can use and carry the patrol rifle/carbine or should it only be a specialized

piece of equipment? 3.) Can new recruits be trained on the patrol rifle/carbine and be

efficient with it? 4.) Should the police academy provide a user patrol rifle/carbine

curriculum? 5.) Does the additional cost of the patrol rifle/carbine outweigh the potential

of lives being saved? And 6.) Are the officers so personally attached to the shotgun that

they are unwilling to try something different even if it is a better alternative?

   The research identified in this project will show that the patrol rifle/carbine is clearly

a better and more suitable long gun system then the shotgun. The question then remains,

why are the majority of police departments still utilizing the shotgun as the primary patrol

long gun? The survey provided facilitates some answers as to why this is occurring.

   In order to properly evaluate the patrol rifle/carbine, expert opinions were sought

through law enforcement articles published in various magazines. A very popular and

well-respected organization is the National Tactical Officers Association. The NTOA

publishes a quarterly magazine for its members. The magazine features articles on

problems the law enforcement community faces throughout the nation. One current

problem that the NTOA has thoroughly discussed is “The active shooter” problem that

has plagued the nation. These articles discuss the absolute necessity of the .223 patrol

rifle/carbine and why the shotgun falls short of being ideal. These articles and expert

opinions will be reviewed in detail.

   The patrol rifle/carbine as with all rifles has distinct and specific marksmanship

shooting fundamentals. Many experts in the area of rifle marksmanship have written

books describing the training methodology necessary to have success with rifle systems

in general. Their opinions on what should be required in way of the patrol/rifle carbine,

standards, and qualification procedures will be compared to the current accepted shotgun

training standards commonly practiced in police departments.

   In addition, Felts’ training manuals provided extensive information on the actual

differences in the patrol rifle/carbine and the shotgun. Felts provided information

outlining the strengths and weaknesses of both long-guns.

                                       APPENDIX A

Survey letter and questions

Hello everyone, my name is Craig Bauldry - Police Sergeant with the Canton Police
Department. My Staff and Command research paper is on the Patrol Rifle and why it
should replace the traditional 12 gauge pump shotgun in patrol vehicles and become the
new Law Enforcement “primary” patrol long gun.

Part of my research is to conduct a survey amongst various certified Police employees
from several different Police Departments. There can be no greater opportunity than to
utilize all of you to assist me with this research endeavor. It will be very important to the
accuracy of my research if you answer all the following questions as honestly as possible.
Please understand that I will not use your name or your departments name in my research
paper. I will strictly use this survey to generate data for my research. In the near future, I
may use my research as a means to convince MCOLES that a basic patrol rifle course
should be taught to new recruits in the Police Academies.

**If you are not certain as to the answer for the first sixteen questions please consult with
a department member to obtain a correct answer. Please answer the remaining questions
to the best of your own ability.

Please complete the survey before the end of this week and place in my mailbox.

I would like to thank all of you for your assistance and I wish you all the best with your
own research project.


Sgt. Craig Bauldry

o My department carries a shotgun in the trunk with a patrol rifle in the
  passenger compartment of most all patrol vehicles. Yes No N/A

o My department carries a patrol rifle in the trunk with the shotgun in the
  passenger compartment. Yes No N/A

o My department only carries the patrol rifle in the passenger compartment.
  Yes No N/A

o My department only carries the shotgun in the passenger compartment. Yes
  No N/A

o My department doesn’t carry the shotgun or the patrol rifle in the patrol
  vehicle. Yes No N/A

o My department carries the shotgun in the passenger compartment of patrol
  vehicles and deploys a rapid type response patrol vehicle 24/7 which carries
  patrol rifles and other specialized equipment. Yes No N/A

o Most all shotguns in the passenger compartment of our patrol vehicles have
  fixed mounted light systems. Yes No N/A

o Most all shotguns in the passenger compartment of our patrol vehicles have
  rifle metallic night sights. Yes No N/A

o Most all patrol rifles in the passenger compartment of our patrol vehicles have
  fixed mounted light systems. Yes No N/A

o Most all patrol rifles in the passenger compartment of our patrol vehicles have
  night sights. Yes No N/A

o My department doesn’t have fixed mounted light systems on our shotguns but
  officers receive regular training on how to hold a flash light and function and
  fire the shotgun. Yes No N/A

o My department doesn’t have fixed mounted lights systems on our patrol rifles
  but officers receive regular training on how to hold a flashlight and function
  and fire the patrol rifle. Yes No N/A

o My department carries shotguns in the passenger compartment of patrol
  vehicles and department policy dictates we train: 1. Annually 2. Bi-annually
  3. Quarterly 4. We don’t have set training. We periodically demonstrate how
  to function and fire the weapon 5. N/A

o My department carries shotguns in the passenger compartment of patrol
  vehicles and department policy dictates we qualify: 1. Annually 2. Bi-

    annually 3. Quarterly 4. We don’t qualify with the shotgun. We periodically
    demonstrate that we can function and fire the weapon. 5. N/A.

o My department carries patrol rifles in the passenger compartment of patrol
  vehicles and department policy dictates we train: 1. Annually 2. Bi-annually
  3. Quarterly 4. We don’t train with the patrol rifle. We periodically
  demonstrate that we can function and fire the weapon 5. N/A

o My department carries patrol rifles in the passenger compartment of patrol
  vehicles and department policy dictates we qualify: 1. Annually 2. Bi-
  annually 3. Quarterly 4. We don’t qualify with the patrol rifle. We
  periodically demonstrate that we can function and fire the weapon 5. N/A

o When I went through the Police Academy, I received training on use &
  deployment of the shotgun. Yes No N/A

o When I went through the Police Academy, I had to qualify with the shotgun.
  Yes No N/A

o My department carries the patrol rifle in the passenger compartment of most
  all patrol vehicles and all operators must first attend and pass a certified user
  school instructed by a certified rifle instructor. Yes No N/A

o My department carries the shotgun in the passenger compartment of most all
  patrol vehicles and all operators must first attend a user school instructed by a
  certified shotgun instructor. Yes No N/A

o My department carries patrol rifles and other specialized equipment in a 24/7
  rapid response type unit and all operators must attend a user school instructed
  by a certified rifle instructor. Yes No N/A

o My department doesn’t carry the patrol rifle on patrol and I believe it is due to
  the over penetrating and long-range capabilities. Yes No N/A

o My department doesn’t carry the patrol rifle on patrol and I believe it is due to
  the cost and the additional training it would require. Yes No N/A

o    I believe academy recruits should receive training and certification on the use
    and deployment of the patrol rifle. Yes No I’m not sure

o When I was a patrol officer, I never really attained a high level of confidence
  with the shotgun and therefore I relied on my handgun and did not deploy the
  shotgun as much as I could have. Yes No N/A

o I believe the shotgun is too big and heavy. Its harsh recoil and pump
  manipulation can be distracting. I believe there should be something more
  suitable for Law Enforcement use. Yes No N/A

o    I believe that all officers cannot be mandated to use and carry the patrol rifle,
    as it is complicated and difficult to master. It is a specialized piece of
    equipment for some but not for all. Yes No N/A

o I am familiar with the patrol rifle and believe if new recruits were trained from
  the beginning (academy) of their careers, it would simply become another
  piece of equipment they would become competent and efficient with. Yes
  No N/A

o The cost of patrol rifles and the cost of additional training are insignificant if it
  saves the lives of citizens and police officers. Yes NO

o I believe some day the shotgun will be phased out as the primary patrol long
  gun just as the revolver was years ago. Yes No N/A

o The shotgun is generally used for situations 35 yards and closer where
  hostages aren’t involved.    Yes No

o The patrol rifle would generally be used 35 yards and farther as it is not a
  close quarter combat type weapon. Yes No

o A skilled and trained patrol rifle officer could most likely fire 9 rounds within
  3-4 seconds at 12 yards into the center mass torso of a hostile armed gunman.
  Yes No Not sure

o I’m very familiar, competent and happy with the shotgun but if someone
  proved to me that there is a better alternative for law enforcement needs, I
  would give it up. Yes No Never.

o A trained patrol rifle officer could most likely engage the head of a hostile
  armed gunman at 50 yards. Yes No Not sure

o A trained patrol rifle officer could most likely engage the torso of a hostile
  armed gunman at 100 yards. Yes No Not sure

                                 APPENDIX B

    Survey results listed by Chart number


                              chart 1

                        Patrol rifle and
                          shotgun in
 Shotgun in the         compartment.
trunk and rifle in           4.4%
 the passenger
  compartment                               Shotgun in
      2.2%                                  passenger
 Shotgun in                                   55%
 and rifle in
                     Patrol rifle in
                       trunk and
                      shotgun in

Chart 2 Shotgun-Fixed mounted light systems.



Chart 3 Shotgun-Rifle night sights.



Chart 4 Rifle-fixed mounted light systems.



Chart 5 Rifle-metallic night sights.



Chart 6 Rifle-do not have fix mounted light system but train regularly with holding flashlight.



Chart 7 Shotgun-do not have fixed mounted light system but train regularly with holding flashlight.



Chart 8 Shotgun training

                                 Do not

   29%                                       Annual

Chart 9 Shotgun qualifications

                                  Do not
       Quarterly                   train
         8%                         6%


Chart 10 Rifle training

                              Do not
      Quarterly                11%

       33%                                Annual

Chart 11Rifle Qualification

                                       Do not
                  quarterly            qualify
                    0%                  10%


Chart 12 Shotgun-received training with shotgun in the police academy.



Chart 13 Shotgun –qualified with shotgun in the police academy.



Chart 14 Rifle-carry patrol rifle in patrol vehicle and all operators must attend a user school.


Chart 15 Rifle-carry patrol rifle in 24/7 rapid deployment vehicle and all operators must attend a
user school.


Chart 16 Rifle-do not carry patrol rifle due to over penetration and long-range capabilities.



Chart 17 Rifle-do not use due to cost of rifles and training.


Chart 18 Rifle-academy recruits should receive training and certification on the use and deployment
of the patrol rifle.



Chart 19 Shotgun-never really attained high level of confidence and most would rely on handgun.



Chart 20 Shotgun-to big and heavy/harsh recoil & pump manipulation is distracting. Should be a
better alternative of law enforcement use.



Chart 21 Rifle-can not mandated to use and carry, as it is complicated and difficult to master. It is a
specialized piece of equipment for some but not for all.



Chart 22 Rifle-if new recruits were trained from the beginning of their careers, it would simply
become another piece of equipment they would become competent and efficient with.



Chart 23 Rifle-cost of patrol rifles and training is insignificant if it saves lives.



Chart 24 Shotgun-some day the shotgun will be phased out as the primary patrol long gun just as the
revolver was years ago.



Chart 25 Shotgun-generally used for situations 35 yards and closer where hostages aren’t involved.



Chart 26 Rifle-generally used 35 yards and farther as it is not a close quarter combat type system.


Chart 27 Rifle-a skilled patrol rifle officer could most likely fire 9 rds. within 3-4 seconds at 12 yards
into the center mass torso of a hostile armed gunman.

                No                Yes
               51%                49%

Chart 28 Shotgun-competent and happy with shotgun but if something is proven to be better--would
give it up.


Chart 29 Rifle-a patrol rifle officer could most likely engage the head of a hostile armed gunman at
50 yards.

                           Not sure


Chart 30 Rifle-a trained patrol rifle officer could most likely engaged the torso of a hostile armed
gunman at 100 yards.

                       Not sure



    In order to understand why the .223 patrol rifle/carbine is most suitable as the

primary law enforcement patrol long gun, a thorough examination of its origin and

capabilities must be reviewed.

    The carbine type rifle was first introduced post World War II. It was designed to be

a midrange, semi-automatic, lightweight, and short barrel rifle. Overtime, improvements

have refined the carbine into a multi-purpose assault rifle.

    Most police agencies deploying a patrol rifle are using the AR-15 model made by

Colt, Bushmaster or Armalite. Although there are other .223-chambered carbines, the

AR-15 is most accepted. Suarez (1999) believed, “The simplest answer, financially,

logistically, educationally, socially and even ballistically, is a version of the U. S. military

service rifle” (P. 9)

    The current military service rifle is the AR-15/M-16, which was designed by Eugene

Stoner for Armalite in the late 1950’s. Armalite sold the manufacturing rights to Colt and

in 1962 the U.S. Army Rangers were the first to deploy the AR-15-M16 in Vietnam.

    The AR-15/M-16 was designed to be the new, modern military rifle. It was to

replace the heavy and big 308 and 30-06 caliber rifles. It is made of light aircraft alloy

reducing weight substantially. The magazine well and magazines are designed to be

ergonomically correct for rapid reloading. Additionally, it was designed in .223 caliber

to allow soldiers to carry more ammo with larger capacity magazines. The AR-15/M-16

proved to be a tremendous military advancement.

    The AR-15 is a production sporting model of the original M-16 rifle designed by

Eugene Stoner. The current military model is basically the same, only it has a selector

position for fully automatic or burst fire.

    The AR-15 features a unique gas operating system much different from conventional

systems. This system eliminates the necessity of an operating rod used in conventional

gas operated rifles. The result is a lighter weapon with reduced maintenance problems.

    The AR-15 also features straight-line construction. The barrel, bolt, recoil buffer,

and stock are assembled in a straight line. The light recoil of the .223 cartridges, along

with the straight back recoil, reduces rifle climb substantially.

    The AR-15 features simplicity of operation in any weather condition. The bolt,

magazine release button, and selector switch are fingertip operated. The weapon requires

a minimum amount of care and can be field striped using a .223 caliber bullet. The

corrosion-resistant materials used in the construction of this weapon provide “long parts

life” and offers functional reliability with routine care and maintenance.

    Parker (2003) noted, “the Stoner system is found in the patrol vehicles of U.S.

    Law Enforcement.” Three years into the new millennium, the patrol rifle

    concept has proven itself to be more than a passing fade. Contrary to the self-

    anointed “experts” prediction that the police use of the patrol rifle was a knee

    Jerk reaction to the North Hollywood firefight (Bank of America, Feb. 1977)

    and that we in law enforcement would soon realize the error of our ways, the

    patrol rifle is here to stay. In fact, more and more agencies have concluded this

    by the hard heard lessons of themselves and others. The Bank of America

    experience was no anomaly of the 1990’s and there are many more serious and

    heavily armed criminals (both foreign and domestic) to be dealt with in the new

    century. (p. 66)

    Suarez (1999) emphasized, “The .223 rifle offers better opportunity at stopping

    suspect in comparison to the handgun, submachine gun or shotgun (at greater

    distances) “Minimum rounds equals minimum force.” This is a very attractive

    concept in our litigious times.” (P. 3)

    The .223 caliber round will also defeat most body armor and will reduce the

probability of an assailant to continue a hostile threat after being hit. Additionally, most

light cover objects such as window screen and grass can be penetrated while over

penetration through medium barriers such as wallboard doesn’t occur. Moreover, missed

shots or rounds that traverse suspects are less of a hazard to innocent bystanders than

pistol ammunition because of the design of the bullet. Furthermore, officers may not find

it necessary to deploy within 25 yards of a hostile situation, as they would have normally

with a handgun or shotgun. Suarez (P. 3)

    The patrol rifle/carbine has increased accuracy over the handgun and shotgun at

close and long range. The patrol rifle/carbine will be the most precise weapon available

for first responders. With proper training patrol rifle/carbine officers should be able to

engage targets from 100 yards in the prone position, 75 yards in the sitting position, 50

yards kneeling and from 25 yards and closer in the standing position. Furthermore, if a

hostage situation developed officers using the patrol rifle/carbine would have a much

better opportunity for success than a handgun or shotgun. Felts (P. 2-4)

    The patrol rifle/carbine will penetrate most soft body armor where the shotgun and

handgun will not. Shotgun and handgun rounds are larger bullets and the momentums of

these bullets are slower than a rifle round. Layered kevlar dissipates the larger rounds

energy (size, mass, momentum). Felts (P. 2-4)

    The patrol rifle/carbine can enhance an officer’s safety. Perimeter positions can be

extended while maintaining accuracy. Handgun and shotguns using 00 buck are virtually

ineffective beyond 25 yards. High-risk felony stops may be conducted with greater

distances between the suspect vehicle and scout cars without reducing accuracy.

Additionally, when building clearing or in close quarter combat, officers will find the

patrol rifle/carbine easier to maneuver and balance than the 12 gauge shotgun.

Furthermore, the semi-automatic patrol rifle/carbine will allow an immediate follow-up

shot from any shooting position. Unfortunately an immediate follow-up with the shotgun

is delayed due to the pump action being necessary. Moreover, the weapon retention

“danger close” corner clearing method is much easier with the patrol rifle/carbine due its

smaller size, weight and semi-automatic capabilities. (P. 6)

    Chart 26 (Appendix B) shows that 43% of command officers surveyed felt the patrol

rifle/carbine is generally suitable for 35 yards and farther as it is not a close quarter

combat weapon.

    The patrol rifle/carbine increases safety for innocent citizens through its inherent

accuracy and superior ballistics reducing the possibility of a down range hazard or over

penetration. One round accountability per squeeze versus nine .32 caliber bullets fired

with one trigger squeeze using the shotgun with 00 buck is the better choice. 00 buck

will spread approximately 1” for every yard it travels. (20 yards=a 20” shot pattern). On

the other hand, the shotgun slug increases range and reduces the number of projectiles to

one per shot but over penetration of the human target and intermediate barriers become a

probability. (P. 7)

         Felts (2003) suggested, “Increased weapon proficiency, bigger ammunition

capacity, ease of operation, and less painful to shoot help to increase the officer’s

confidence, which lead to the probability of success and in return reduce liability.”

(P. 7)

    In connection with Felts (2003) suggestions and in reviewing the survey response,

Chart 3 (Appendix B) illustrates that only 8% of the command officers surveyed

indicated their shotguns have rifle sights. Therefore, it must be noted here that to have

increased accuracy with any rifle slug, it is important to have a rifled barrel and a rifle


Terminal Ballistics

    In order to understand the .223 rifle round capability and to dispel the myths

that surround it, a basic understanding of ballistics must be reviewed and more

specifically terminal ballistics. Many doctors and scientists along with the military and

police agencies have conducted extensive research on the topic; and after all the material

is reviewed, a clear picture of the .223 caliber round and what happens when the round

makes contact with a medium is presented.

    Ballistics can be broken down into three segments. The first is internal ballistics,

which deals with what occurs from trigger press to the time when the round exits the

muzzle. Next is external ballistics, dealing with the flight or the projectile and the

environmental effects on the projectile. Finally, we have the study of terminal ballistics.

Which deals with what happens when the projectile strikes its intended target and

continues its travel until its forward motion stops. In order to dispel the over penetration

myth, terminal ballistics will be most discussed.

    When a bullet traverses the body, it destroys tissue, blood vessels and may break

bones. This creates a permanent wound track, also called a permanent wound cavity.

This wound cavity needs to be deep enough to reach vital organs. Three different factors

affect the severity of this wound.

     The first factor, when a rifle round is fired and the bullet is propelled down the bore,

the bore’s rifling imparts a gyroscopic spin on the bullet. This spin is required to

stabilize the bullet during flight. This spin is not perfect, and most rifle rounds tend to

yaw, or deviate slightly from a perfect point-forward position during flight. Suarez

(1999) emphasized, “that the round is not “tumbling” in flight. The portrayal of the .223

tumbling end over end in flight is yet another myth.” (P. 36) The .223 round will yaw

about 1 to 2 degrees, so that its long axis makes a slightly greater angle with the line of

travel. But when the bullet strikes a human body, the yaw also creates a greater amount

of tissue contact. Only when these bullets strike the body, the yaw may be enhanced as

much as 180 degrees as it travels through tissue; sometimes ending up base forward

causing a greater circumference of tissue contact.

    The second factor; affects the severity of the wound and the ability of a projectile to

expand. Expanding projectiles tend to damage more tissue by making a larger orifice. It

is important; however, not to choose a round that expands too soon or too much, as this

may mitigate penetration. Penetration is vastly more important than expansion when it

comes to reaching deeper vital organs. If a bullet expands too quickly, it may never get

to anything that resembles a vital organ.

   The bullet’s pointed shape makes it heavier at its base than at its point, so that its

center of gravity is at the rear of the bullet. When the bullet meets resistance, it attempts

to rotate 180 degrees around its base to achieve a stable base-forward orientation. The

stress of tissue resistance to the bullet’s passage often overpowers the physical integrity

of the bullet. This may cause the bullet to shed its jacket or bend at the cannelure (the

point where it is crimped into the brass case), thereby enhancing the wound channel even


    The third factor; bullet fragments may come off the projectile itself and move

radically away from the line of travel, in turn creating their own wound cavities. The

.223 round creates a dramatically large permanent wound cavity due to these dynamics.

Suarez (P. 37)

Suarez (1999) observed testing conducted by Bill Jeans and published in The Tactical

Edge magazine NTOA, the only calibers that did not exit a “house” (as simulated for the

test), were .223 softpoint and hollowpoint bullets. Moreover, the full-metal jacket (FMJ)

M-193 bullets showed no more penetration than the standard pistol bullets in service

(9mm, .40 S & W, and .45 ACP) (P. 37)

    Suarez (1999) consulted with other testing conducted by the FBI. The FBI shot

heavy clothing, steel plates, wallboard, plywood, light clothing, automobile glass, interior

and exterior walls, as well as body armor. Their findings indicate the following: 1.) Soft

body armor is no barrier against .223 bullets. 2.) With the exception of a full metal jacket

bullet; it is not a good idea to select the .223 for vehicular assaults as its penetratation

against automobile safety glass is generally poor, and only slightly better than on sheet

metal, and 3.) Common barriers found in a residence, such as wallboard, plywood, or

internal/external walls, are more easily penetrated by pistol calibers or large-bore rifle

calibers such as the .308 (even in cases where such barriers have been penetrated, the

wounding potential of the rounds is greatly reduced when compared to pistol calibers).

These tests also indicate that the high velocity .223 round may shatter if it strikes a hard

object that offers strong resistance, such as concrete or brick. In such cases, since the

bullets tend to break-up ricochets are generally less hazardous. This means that concerns

about over penetration and the danger to the populace presented by missing rounds have

been greatly exaggerated, and that the 5.56mm/.223 is relatively safer than pistol bullets

for everyone in the close-quarter battle (CQB) application. (P.38)

    Moreover, testing conducted by the Snohomish County Sheriffs’ office, which

showed that after exiting similar walls, the .223 bullets would only penetrate 5 ½ inches

of gelatin, compared to nearly 20 inches for pistol bullets! Apparently, when the .223

was shot through a wall it began to break up and fragment, which reduced its penetrative

characteristics. Suarez (P. 38)

    Chudwin (2001) noted, others argue that rifle cartridges are too dangerous

    in the urban environment because of distance the bullet can travel. Consider

    the maximum range of the following rounds as listed in the Winchester ballistics

    tables: .223 Remington/8300 feet, .357 mag/7100 feet, 9mm/6800 feet, 12 Ga. 00

    buck and 12 Ga. 1 oz. Slug/1830 feet. While the rifle round has a potentially

    greater range, al projectiles fired from any type of police firearm will travel

    more than a third of a mile. Any stray round is a hazard, and it is illogical to

    claim that one type firearm is more or less dangerous than another based only

    on the maximum range of the round fired from it. The key issue is, what is the

    penetration and ricochet potential for the bullet type and caliber in a residential

    area? Against all common folklore, the .223 Rem. cartridge loaded with hollow

    point or soft point bullets, penetrates significantly less against residential wall

    construction, and poses far less ricochet problems than does typical law enforce-

    ment pistol and shotgun rounds. (P. 19)

    Barrel length and proper ammunition is key to the amount of penetration desired. If

velocity is decreased, bullet fragmentation will be reduced thereby reducing wound

severity. Rifles will exhibit this performance if impact velocity is a least 2,700 feet per

second (fps). This means that such performance may be expected with 20-inch-barreled

rifles out to 150 yards, and with 14-to-16-inch-barreled rifles out to 775 yards. If the

impact velocity decreased to less than 2,700 fps (about 200 yards for the 20-inch barrel,

and 150 yards for the 14-to-16-inch barrel), the bullet may break at the cannelure, but no

fragmentation will occur. This will decrease the effectiveness of the round. Below 2,500

fps, i.e., beyond 200 yards for the 20-inch barrel, or 150 yards for the 14-to-16-inch

barrel, there will not be any break-up, or fragmentation, and the wound will not be as

dramatic. Suarez (P. 39)

    Chudwin (1999) explains, there are differences of opinion as to the effectiveness

    of bullets that do not penetrate at least 12 inches of gelatin. This penetration

    depth is considered necessary by some very knowledgeable experts due to thick

    body mass of offenders or angle shots through the extremities into the torso.

    It is argued that bullets must reach sufficient depth to strike vital organs and

    blood vessels. When a round fails to make such depth of penetration, it is

    considered lacking in terminal performance. To be most effective, a bullet must

    retain its weight, without the jacket and core separating. However, there is no

    one .223 bullet that penetrates barriers and tissue, maintains weight, does not

    separate core and jacket, and still poses a low level of hazard due to ricochet or

    excess penetration. Bullets of standard construction penetrate shorter distance

    into gelatin, are more frangible, and generally shatter on impact with hard

    surfaces. (P. 38)

    Chudwin (1999) conducted tests, which showed that bullets of standard construction

penetrate shorter distances into gelatin, are more frangible, and generally shatter on

impact with hard surfaces. The 55-grain Federal Tactical round penetrated the required

12 inches of gelatin but in respect to wall penetration, the Federal Tactical round is

similar to all handgun ammunition and shotgun slugs or buckshot. This may not be the

choice for officers making an entry into a residential home but may be the answer for

routine patrol duties so that barriers such as automobile glass or metal can be penetrated.

(P. 38)

    Chudwin also conducted tests with the Remington 55 grain pointed soft point or the

Hornady Police Tactical Application Police round (TAP) which penetrated the wall

board, but shattered in the process. Gelatin behind the wallboard was penetrated less than

5 inches with fragments of the bullet. (P. 38) Due to different penetration desire, two

different bullet types may be needed for street use. The Federal Tactical round can be the

primary patrol magazine with a second magazine of Remington 55 grain PSP or similar

bullet is available for heavily populated operational areas or entries into residential

dwellings. The REDI-MAG pouch can be attached to the left side of the firearm, which

will allow for quick magazine changes. Chudwin (P. 39)

    Chudwin (1999) emphasized, “There is always a difference of opinion. My decision

is based on testing and comparison. It does not fit all criteria for all purposes. Whatever

ammunition an officer must choose that, decision should be based on realistic testing and

evaluation.” (P. 39)

Chart 16 (Appendix B) shows that 28% of command officers felt their department did not

carry the patrol rifle/carbine due to the over penetration and long-range capabilities.


    The primary goal of any police agency is to “Protect and to Serve” the citizens of

the community. To “Protect and to serve” is in every police oath across the nation.

In order to protect others, police officers must receive adequate training.

    Chudwin (2000) explains, as in all firearms training, the more frequent the

    training, the greater the expectation of increases ability. Many training

    programs require officers to fire less than 25 rounds of 12-gauge slug annually.

    If the 12-gauge slug gun is to be the designated long gun, frequent and

    comprehensive training is vital. Once year shotgun training with a handful of

    slugs is wholly inadequate and, legally, would be very difficult to defend. (P. 13)

    Fairborne (1994) reported, many feel the shotgun is at its best when used at

    close ranges with coarse shot. Most police agencies use either 00 or No. 4 buck-

    shot loads for this role. Unfortunately, most police shotguns have a maximum

    effective range of 25 to 35 yards with buckshot, and precision is virtually

    impossible with these loads. Others use their shotguns with slugs, feeling they

    perform best as short-range rifles. Here again, the shotgun comes up short.

    while a well-trained shooter can center a man-sized target to 100 yards or more

    with a sighted shotgun, the average police officer/shotgun combination is better

    suited to a maximum range of 50 yards with slug ammunition. (P. 39)

    In reviewing the survey, Chart 8 (Appendix B) shows that 58% of command officers

surveyed indicated their department conducts shotgun training only once a year. 21%

train twice per year, 8% train 4 times per year and 5% don’t train at all. Furthermore,

Chart 3 (Appendix B) shows that 92% of command officers surveyed do not utilize rifle

sights on their shotguns.

    The handgun of course is the primary weapon of the patrol officer. The officer needs

the handgun on his person for immediate protection of self and others. However, when

an officer responds to a potentially dangerous call such as someone holding a deadly

weapon--maintaining distance may be crucial. Those that only train with the shotgun in

close quarter combat mode will need to be close to be effective. The idea of having a

patrol long gun is to hold a tactical advantage. When involved in a gunfight at close

range, regardless of what weapon system used there is a stronger possibility of taking

hits. One advantage with the patrol rifle/carbine is the officer can stand a distance away,

sight the offender, and fire on the offender without sustaining personal injury.

    Fairborne (1994) reasoned, the shotgun, despite its long history of use in the

    United States is not an ideal second weapon for police agencies. Many agencies

    Are finding that officers do not perform well with shotguns, despite the

    weapon’s substantial advantages. As police agencies become more sensitive to

    the liability aspects of police firarms training, specifically the lack of such

    training, the rifle or carbine becomes more attractive. Officers are more

    comfortable with a rifle since it allows more precision and metes out less

    abuse. The comfort factor promotes increased training and familiarity, which,

    in turn increases confidence. And being confidant with one’s weapon is the

    secret of effective use. (P. 39)

    Chart 19 (Appendix B) shows 28 % of the command officers surveyed honestly

admitted that they have never felt confident with the shotgun and therefore relied on their

handgun more than they should have. Charts 20 (Appendix B) shows 28% of the

command officers surveyed believed the shotgun is too big and heavy. Its harsh recoil

and pump manipulation can be distracting. Further, they felt there should be something

more suitable for law enforcement. Chart 28 (Appendix B) shows that 48% of command

officers were competent and happy with the shotgun but would give it up if a better

alternative were available.

     Rifle shooting involves fine motor skills and to properly program students, Fairborn

recommends no less than 24 hours in a basic training program. Furthermore, periodic in-

service training and qualification must follow up the basic training. Periodic training four

times per year with two qualification courses of fire would be a good sustainment

program. Fairborn, (P. 62)

     Felts (2003) believed, in addition to Fairborne’s recommendation, officers should

attend at least one advancement school per year as well. (P. 13)

    Chart 12 (Appendix B) shows that the command officers indicated that those

departments that do utilize the patrol rifle/carbine indicated 56% train annually, 33% bi-

annually and 11 % don’t train at all. Chart 13 (Appendix B) shows command officers

indicated 50% qualify annually, 40% biannually and 10% do not qualify at all.

    In reviewing the survey, yearly sustainment training and qualification standards for

those departments utilizing the patrol rifle/carbine is substantially lower than what

experts recommend. Chart 17 (Appendix B) answers shows that 40% of command

officers surveyed believe their police department doesn’t use the patrol rifle due to cost

and training.

    Additionally, the command officers surveyed were asked if their shotguns have fixed

mounted light systems and Chart 2 (Appendix B) shows that 92% do not. Moreover, the

command group was asked if regular training was introduced on how to hold a flashlight

and manipulate and fire a pump action shotgun. Sixty-seven percent have not received

training with this technique. Statistically most police shootings occur in dark hours.

Utilization of the shotgun in a point and shoot method during nighttime hours can lead to

potential errant rounds.

    Ironically, command officers that do utilize the patrol rifle/carbine were asked if their

rifles have a fixed mounted light system and the survey revealed 90 % do not—Chart 4

(Appendix B).

In addition, the command officers were asked if their department members receive

regular training on how to hold a flashlight and operate the rifle and 85% indicated they

do not—Chart 6 (Appendix B).

    Suarez (2000) The Tactical Edge-NTOA explains, “Aimed fire, or as some call it.

“Instinctive” shooting is not new. The question of which is better for combat, however,

continuously surfaces.” (P.57) Point shooting was around for many years up until the late

1970s. Statistically, officers did not fair well with this technique so a better method was

developed. Suarez argued, “If this technique was adequate why was an alternative

method designed.” (P. 58) Simply put too many officers were shot by suspects due to

officers missing by point and shoot methods at close range. The failure of the point and

shoot method led to the adoption of the Jeff Cooper system, (sight-only system) or one of

its equivalents. One such agency was the Los Angeles Police Department.

    The LAPD abandoned the point and shoot technique, adopted the cooper system and

made it work. Hit rates in police shootings went up significantly. In the 70s, the

percentage of hits was minimal. In 1991 after utilizing the Cooper sight-only system for

several years the hit rate went up 56%. In 1996, it was 70% and continues to grow higher

each year. Suarez (P. 57)

    Police officers can be trained to keep cool guaranteeing shots by using the sights.

Training will substantially lower stress. The list of successful officers is long and

distinguished. Missed shots will give the suspect a chance to kill, “who?” Only hits

count. Point shooting in a dynamic environment with moving targets will inevitably lead

to miss shots. “who?” can get lucky (or unlucky)? Officers should seek to win by

design, not by default. (P. 58)

    The sights must be used for all shooting, except situations where one is so close that

a standard firing position would allow the adversary an opportunity to grab or deflect the

gun. This doesn’t mean that you spend seconds trying to acquire a perfect sight picture.

The degree of precision in sight alignment and the resulting sight picture greatly depends

on size of the target, distance, and the difficulty of the shot. (P. 58)

    Patrol rifle/carbine officers must learn during training what there limitations are.

Realistic expectations are critical and must be instituted during training. Qualification

courses should run parallel with the expectations of what the officer should be capable of

in a real shooting incident. For example, one advantage of the patrol rifle/carbine is the

ability to engage targets at extended distances. A police officer after completing a 24-

hour basic user school should have the ability to engage head size targets out to 50 yards

and body size targets out of 100 yards. The patrol rifle/carbine shooter has the weapon

and marksmanship training to engage much further away than a shotgun-armed patrol

officer. Fairborne (P. 62) Chart 29 (Appendix B) of the survey results shows 84% of

command officers surveyed felt the patrol rifle officers would be able to engage head

targets out to 50 yards. 11% said no and 5% were not sure. Chart 30 (Appendix B)

indicated 89% felt the patrol rifle officer could engage body size targets out to 100 yards

while 11% were not sure.

    With any type of weapon system deployed, understanding limitations and capabilities

are critical and should be thoroughly covered in training. Due to the capabilities of the

patrol rifle/carbine, officers are able to learn advanced techniques. Techniques that

would save lives immediately verses waiting for an advanced tactical team to arrive. The

patrol rifle/carbine can be used for dynamic emergency rescues. The purpose of a

downed victim rescue is to move an injured victim from a hostile environment to a safe

location where medical aid can be rendered. In addition, it may be necessary to remove a

victim who is not injured but in a location where he/she is vulnerable to hostile gunfire.

A team of patrol rifle/carbine officers could deliver suppression fire towards the suspect

while moving into position to extract the victim. Furthermore, training in various

movement formations should be covered in detail. When officers have to advance into

hostile territory to rescue victims or stop an active shooter all angles must be covered.

Hubbs (P. 64)

    As with any weapon system, regular training and training relevance is critical. The

earlier an officer receives training in his/her career the better he/she will be in weapons

marksmanship, understanding what is capable with the chosen weapon system, and

knowing what their own strengths and limitations are. This explains why police recruits

receive training with the handgun and shotgun in the police academy. Fairborne (1994)

observed, “While all agencies or academies train with side arms and shotguns, very few

teach the rifle to recruits.” (P. 11) In reviewing the survey results, Chart 22 (Appendix

B) shows that 83% of command officers surveyed felt that if new police recruits were

trained with the patrol rifle from the beginning (academy) of their careers, it would

simply become another piece of equipment they would be efficient and competent with.

Chart 18 (Appendix B) shows that 85% of command officers felt that police recruits in

the academy should receive training and certification on use and deployment of the patrol


The active shooter and incident examples

     Hubbs (2000) wrote, “Active shooter” can be defined as one or more subjects who

participate in a random or systematic shooting spree, demonstrating their intent to

continuously harm others.” (P. 63)

    McCarthy (2000) expressed, active shooter events have been around for decades

    but have increased with some regularity for the past 10 years. These incidents

    are usually perpetrated by an angry suicidal suspect (s). Their intention is to

    kill as many people as possible and often anticipate being killed by responding

    officers. Bases upon studies and research, we know that 28 percent of all

    police shootings are suicidal subjects that orchestrate a situation to end in

   deadly Force. (P. 12)

    The L.A. bank robbery and the Columbine high school incidents were the most

highly publicized on T.V. First responders found themselves poorly equipped to handle

these incidents. In the L.A. bank robbery, the suspects were armed with fully automatic

long guns with body armor covering their torso and extremities. The suspects and police

officers fired hundreds of rounds. Multiple citizens and officers were injured. One

suspect committed suicide and the other suspect was stopped by a SWAT officer. In

reviewing the incident, video footage shows the suspects never took up their sights. The

hundreds of rounds were fired sporadically in the direction of scout cars and offices. Had

these me took up their sights and used marksmanship skills the outset may have been

dramatically worse.

    In Littleton Colorado, two teenage boys armed with several guns and numerous

homemade bombs, shot and killed 12 classmates and a teacher, and wounded 20. First

responders on scene found their handguns and training wholly inadequate to deal with the

incident. Chudwin (2001) emphasized, “Officers arriving on scene, during in- progress

violent incidents must have the means and ability to respond effectively.” (P. 18)

    Chudwin (2001) wrote, a sailor noted that Naval Regulations are written in

    blood. Injuries and death led the way to change. Law enforcement is little

    different. It has only been after disasters that a shift in thinking has taken

   place. New equipment, training, and policy came about through tragedies in

   Austin, Norco, Miami, and Los Angeles to name a few. The deaths of good law

   enforcement officers have proven the sailor’s point. (P. 18)

   The following is only some active shooter incidents, which were provided in the

NTOA Tactical Edge Magazine, summer 2000 issue:

     •   Aug. 1, 1966, Austin, Tex.: Texas Tower incident. For over an hour, Charles

         Whitman fired on University of Austin students, some over 500 yards away.

         He killed 14 and wounded 30.

     •   Oct. 29, 1979, San Diego, Calif: Two San Diego police officers were shot and

         bled to death in the driveway of a barricaded suspect. Suspect fired on arriving

         officers and SWAT for 40 minutes until being killed by a SWAT sniper.

     •   July 18, 1984, San Diego, Calif.: James Huberty walked into the San Ysidro

         McDonald’s Restaurant and opened fire. Twenty-one dead, 19 wounded.

         Huberty was killed by a SWAT sniper.

     •   Aug. 20, 1986, Edmond Okla.: Postal worker Patrick Sherill Killed 14 and

         wounded six co-workers.

     •   Jan. 1, 1989, Stockton, Cal.: Patrick Purdy firebombed his car and entered a

         school playground armed with a Chinese-made assault rifle and 9mm pistol.

         He killed five children, wounded 29 additional children and a teacher, and then

         killed himself.

•   Dec. 18, 1989, University of Montreal: Over the course of 20 minutes, Marc

    Lepne methodically stalked the cafeteria classrooms and corridors of the

    school. In four separate locations scattered around three floors of a six-story

    structure, he gunned down a total of 27 people, leaving 14 of them dead.

    Finally, he turned his weapon against himself.

•   Oct. 16, 1991, Kileen, Texas.: George Hennard rammed his pickup truck

    through a plate glass window of Luby’s Restaurant then opened fire with two

    pistols. Twenty-three killed, 24 wounded.

•   May 1, 1992, Olivehurst, Calif.: Eric Houston, 20, killed four people and

    wounded 10 in an armed siege in his former high school. Prosecutors said the

    attack was in retribution for a failing grade. Houston was convicted and given

    a death sentence.

•   Jan. 18 1993, Grayson, Ky.: Scott Pennington, 17, walked into Deanna

    McDavid’s seventh-period English class at East Carter High School and shot

    her in the head. He then shot janitor Marvin Hicks in the abdomen.

    Pennington was sentenced to life without parole.

•   Jan. 24, 1996, Portland, Ore.: A deliveryman recently fired over remarks he

    made to some women, armed himself with an AK-47 a 100-round drum

    magazine, a shotgun, a pistol, then entered a high rise office building and

    opened fire.

•    Feb. 2, 1996, Moses Lake, Wash.: 14 year old Barry Loukaitis shot and

    killed three, wounds a fourth at his middle school.

•   Feb. 19, 1997, Bethel, Alaska: A 16-year-old student opened fire with a

    shotgun in a common area at the high school. Killed are school principal Ron

    Edwards and classmate Josh Palacious. Two students are wounded.

    Authorities later accuse two other students of knowing that the shootings would

    take place. Evan Ramsey was sentenced to two 99-year terms.

•   Oct. 1, 1997, Pearl, Miss.: A 16-year-old student is accused of killing his

    mother, then going to school and shooting nine students, two fatally.

•   Dec. 1, 1997, Paducah, Ky.: Three students are killed and five others wounded

    at high school. A 14-year-old boy pleads guilty.

•   March 24, 1998, Jonesboro, Ark.: Four girls and a teacher are shot to death

    when two boys, ages 11 and 13, activated a fire alarm then opened fire on the

    exiting students.

•   April 24, 1998, Edinboro, Pa.: A 15-year-old student shot to death a science

    teacher at an eighth-grade graduation dance.

•   May 21, 1998, Springfield, Ore.: Two students are killed and more than 20

    wounded when a 15-year-old boy opened fire. His parents are later found slain

    at their home.

•   Nov. 19, 1998, San Diego, Calif.: A man upset over marital problems entered a

    child care center and shot two woman, one fatally. Suspect killed by police.

•   April 16, 1999, Notus, Ind.: A sophomore at Notus Junior-senior high school

    allegedly took his grandfather’s shotgun to school and fired two blasts, one

    narrowly missing a group of students.

      •   April 20, 1999, Littleton, Colo.: Two teenage boys armed with several guns

          and numerous homemade bombs, shot and killed 12 classmates and a teacher

          and wounded 20.

    Conley (2000) explains, active shooter incidents have been stereotyped and

    Repeated excessively in both rural and urban environments. As a result of

    This, law enforcement administrators must accept the possibility of an active

    Shooter incident occurring in their jurisdiction, and be prepared to respond.

    It is the responsibility of the agency to train and equip their officers to succeed,

     especially in their most important function, which is to protect life. (P. 10)

    Many police departments are adopting policies and training to deal with active

shooter incidents. The failure to respond appropriately and within a reasonable time may

subject police departments and their administrators to civil liability and negative

criticism. The purpose of the policy is to provide officers with guidelines in dealing with

an active shooter situation. It should be noted that these policies do not mention the

SWAT team as the first responders for several reasons: 1.) Most active shooter

situations are concluded prior to the arrival of SWAT. Though, the SWAT team should

be immediately summoned at the onset of such an incident. 2.) Many small agencies do

not have their own SWAT. 3.) Waiting for the arrival of SWAT could result in the loss of

more lives. Conley (P. 11)

    Officers are now being trained to immediately establish an Emergency Response

Team (ERT) when an active shooter situation occurs. Such training is nothing new;

SWAT teams have considered this as “contingency planning”. The idea is to have a team

of officers ready and prepared to take immediate action if citizens or hostages are being

murdered. The ERT can exist with 3 members but 5 are optimum if effective equipment

and officers are available. Shaver (P. n/a)

    Hubbs (2000) insisted, “If there exist within our community a post office, public

school, library, office building, fast food restaurant, or any other location where people

come together, an active shooter incident could occur within your area” (P. 64)

    In order to be successful in responding to an active shooter situation, officers must

receive training on how an ERT deploys and functions as a team unit. The officers must

have immediate access to firearms capable of delivering accurate fire at greater distances.

Schools have long hallways, large auditoriums and gymnasiums. Factories have long

corridors and large open areas. Furthermore, any of these people populated areas could

turn into hostage rescue situations where accuracy will be critical. Many active shooters

deploy assault rifles and some have had fully automatic weapons. When police arrive on

scene they should always have one up on an assailant or in other words a bigger gun.

Chudwin and Kulovitz (P. 12)

    Some police agencies have established special vehicles that are on the road 24/7.

These vehicles carry equipment such as heavy ballistic vest, shields and helmets. These

vehicles may also be equipped with rifles and less lethal munitions. Generally the

operator of the vehicle has training with the weapon systems carried within the vehicle.

Most importantly, the operator of the vehicle responds immediately to a hostile situation

where other patrol officers will meet with him, retrieve equipment from the vehicle and

prepare for what lies ahead. Chart 1 (appendix B) shows that 24% of command officers

utilize the patrol rifle/carbine within their department and deploy it in a rapid response

type vehicle.

     Although a specialized unit containing additional equipment is better than nothing, it

is still “placing all your eggs in one basket” which is the same as SWAT. Many

problems can occur to one vehicle prohibiting a timely response.

    Police officers responding in vehicles carrying patrol rifles can arrive sooner and

prepare quicker. Most all police officers will already have a vest on and a helmet can be

carried in the trunk of every police vehicle. When citizens are being murdered, officers

must strike a balance between waiting for specialized equipment verses an immediate

response to save as many lives as possible.


   Historically, the rifle was the primary fighting weapon of Sheriffs, Marshals, and other

law enforcement officials. Early western pictures show these crime fighters holding their

lever action rifles. Chudwin (2001) writes, “Given his choice, a knowing man didn’t go

into harms way armed with a handgun.” (P. 18)

    The law enforcement force continuum is based on good old fashion common sense.

Even the earliest law enforcement officials of the country had enough sense to use the

proper tools to win.

    The United States constitution affords citizens the right to bear arms. This right

extends to everything from handguns to rifles. Though recent legislative law have made

it more difficult to purchase weapons, it is still relatively easy for an adult to purchase a

gun. To not have rifle systems available for patrol officers goes against the force

continuum model. To achieve a successful outcome, police officers need to have the

right and ability to escalate to a higher degree of force when necessary. Since all types of

guns are so easily attainable within this country, rifles and high training standards will

afford officers a higher probability to save innocent citizens and go home at the end of

the day.

    The intention of this research project was to prove that the current long gun mostly

accepted within the law enforcement community is not the best choice. Furthermore, the

training commitment and method of utilization is sub-standard. The survey results show

for the most part that the shotgun is being utilized for close quarter combat only.

Exchanging rounds at close distances is not tactically desired. Rifle trained officers have

the option to not only use distance to their advantage but can also get into a different

shooting platform such as kneeling or even prone. These different platforms not only

increase accuracy but also make for a smaller target.

   Most shotguns have no light system or rifle sight and only a small percentage of

departments train officers how to hold a flashlight and manipulate the shotgun. As stated

in this project, shotgun rounds can travel 1,875 feet, which is over 6 football fields. In

addition, over penetration with a shotgun round is much more than a .223 carbine round.

00 buck shotgun rounds have 9 bullets that with distance can have a devastating spread


     In reviewing the survey, current training standards show that minimum sustainment

training with those utilizing the patrol rifle/carbine is lower than what the experts

recommend. In addition, the survey showed that most of the departments with rifles

don’t have fixed mounted light systems. Even though the survey results show that the

shotgun and the patrol rifle/carbine have a low percentage of fixed light systems, the

patrol rifle with its engrained marksmanship for accuracy in utilization of the sights will

yield better results than the shotguns point and shoot method.

    The survey results show high percentages in favor of rifle utilization for all officers.

In addition, a high percentage agreed that the patrol rifle/carbine should be routine

academy curriculum. Teaching academy students the patrol rifle early in their careers

will help to develop the mindset of accuracy and the tactical advantage of distance. This

will help to change the current unconscious reaction to get within 25 yards of the threat in

order to return fire.

    Furthermore, some police veterans who have utilized the shotgun for several years

may fight change. If given the choice, some veterans may pass on rifle training and

continue to use old tactics with the shotgun. A steady influx of academy recruits trained

in the patrol rifle can help to bring about change. In addition, police administrators will

need to encourage senior officers to accept change and mandate patrol rifle training to all


    Due to constant advancements in technology--societies and behavior will change.

Police agencies must accept new technology and change as well. Most all police

agencies have a mission statement, which asserts the commitment to be proactive. To be

proactive, police administrators must teach their personnel to understand that the

equipment and training used today may not be the same tomorrow.

    The patrol rifle/carbine is the equipment of today. It provides tactical advantages

and contrary to popular belief it will also reduce liability. Chart 28 (Appendix B) shows

that 57% of the command officers would give up the shotgun if something better was

available. Chart 23 (Appendix B) 93% of the command officers felt the cost of rifles and

training is insignificant if it saves lives.


    Police administrators should move to obtain patrol rifle/carbines for street use

as soon as possible. Ideally, every patrol officer would be assigned a patrol rifle/carbine

just as they are assigned a handgun. Officers that are assigned their own patrol rifles will

be able to make fine adjustments (tweak) allowing for more accuracy.

    The purchase of patrol rifle/carbines for all patrol officers can be a huge expense--

severely straining a police budget. Police administrators that are unable to bear the

burden of such an expense will need to be creative in finding the monies. It is possible to

make the purchase over a period of years with a planned deadline to achieve total

transition. Police departments can begin by deploying the 24/7 rapid response vehicle

(equipment vehicle) containing patrol rifles. As more money is obtained, patrol rifles can

begin to move into the passenger compartment of patrol vehicles. With a timed deadline

all patrol officers can have an assigned patrol rifle/carbine.

    Those departments that initially cannot make the total transition for all patrol officers

to have their own patrol rifle/carbines must develop a system where trained patrol rifle

officers will qualify with certain rifles and deploy those same rifles in the field.

    Police academies that institute a patrol rifle/carbine curriculum and certification

program would be providing an invaluable service to the law enforcement profession.

Officers certified in patrol rifle use within the academy would develop an instinctive

mindset to utilize distance and accuracy (when appropriate and possible) early within

their career. Additionally, recruits hired by police departments would be able to deploy

the patrol rifle/carbine without the department being burdened with initial orientation


**A meeting with Schoolcraft Police Academy Coordinator Dan Antieau proved to be

very beneficial. Mr. Antieau a retired police officer and certified in the use of the patrol

rifle agreed that the academy should institute such a program. Mr. Antieau was provided

with a copy of this research project and he agreed to present an implementation proposal

to the Schoolcraft Police Academy Board of Directors. In addition, Mr. Antieau

suggested he will seek a pilot course through MCOLES.


Chudwin, J. (1999- Summer) .223 for the street. ITOA News pp. 37-39

Chudwin, J. & Kulovitz A. (2000-Spring) Rapid response training and firearms selection.
ITOA News pp. 12-13

Chudwin, J. (2001- Spring) Establishing a police rifle/carbine program. ITOA News pp.

Conley J. (2000-Summer) Active Shooter incidents. ITOA News pp. 10-16

Fairburn, R. (1994) Police Rifles-Selecting the right rifle for street patrol and special
tactical Situations. Boulder, Colorado: Paladin Press

Felts, J. (2003) Law Enforcement Patrol Rifle/Carbine-Policy, training & operational
considerations. pp.150

Felts, J. (2003-June) Law Enforcement patrol rifle seminar. pp.1-7

Hubbs, K. (2000-Summer) Dynamic Emergency Rescues-some thoughts after Littleton.
The Tactical Edge. pp. 62-66

McCarthy, R. (2000-Spring) Special Feature-Procedures and tactics for patrol and swat in
response to active shooters. The Tactical Edge. pp.12-15

Mohn, E. (Fall-2000) The patrol tactical support officer. ITOA News. pp. 4-5

Parker, R. (2003-Summer) Counter Measures. The Tactical Edge pp. 66-68.

Shaver, T. (2000-Summer) Waiting for SWAT- a patrolman’s duties. The Tactical Edge
pp. n/a

Suarez, G. (1999) The tactical edge-the precision tool for urban police operations.
Boulder, Colorado: Paladin Press.

Suarez, G. (2000-Winter) Point shoot or use the sights. The Tactical Edge. pp. 57-59

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